Hope's Ranch Backstory: The Rawlings family

Fifteen years before year one

He had seen it coming. His brother was slowing becoming the sissy Larry always knew he was. Larry had beat Earl up many times over the years and as they got older, the beatings seemed to get worse. As kids it would end up with Earl having a bloody nose, or a fat lip. As they got older, black eyes became a normal thing. No matter how much he beat on his brother, the younger boy always seemed to remain a quiet and kind person, which just made him hate his brother even more. He could never understand why his brother was the way he was. There were no girlfriends, but then he had very few male friends either. He often remained by himself, or he stayed near their mother. Larry just figured that was to keep from being beaten

Larry knew he should have seen the writing on the wall when his brother first came out to his parents. Larry didn't know what was going on at first, only that his father got distant to both of them, which made Larry hate Earl even more. Then their mother began doting on his brother, which annoyed him. Larry seemed to get more chores around the house, at least he thought he had.

Larry could still remember the fishing show he was watching the summer that he was Seventeen and his brother was eleven.Earl had told his parents his big secret. Larry figured his parent would want him to stop it from happening, so he tried his hardest. He told all his friends, which wasn't many people, due to their remote location, he increased the beatings, but was stopped more by both his parents.

Finally one day it all came to a head. He could remember the argument like it happened five minutes earlier. He was twenty five, and working as an over the road trucker. His younger sibling had just turned nineteen. So far Earl hadn't done much living as a woman, even though he kept seeing the shrinks. Larry figured it was all a waste of money.

“Son, we're going to help Hope out.” His father said. “We know you have problems with it, but Hope is our child and we've always said we'd help either of you if you were in need.”

“We don't want to do this, but you can't keep attacking your sister.” His mother said.

“That's my brother!” He yelled back. “He's got a dick, that makes him a man! You're just helping with the problem!”

“Son, if you can't accept Hope for who she is, then you can't stay here anymore.” His father said.

“But Dad, you need help here. I can help you!”

The old man shook his head. “Son, I need help and you've been working. Hope is getting very good in the fields. We don't need a violent thug with no love in his life.”

The arguments went back and forth, but one thing remained, they were supporting his sibling, no matter what. Finally his temper snapped. He faced his sibling and glared at her. “You ruined this family!” Larry struck out, his fist catching Hope's chin. She staggered back and hit the ground on her ass. Their father moved to get in between his children. Larry just glared at all of them. “This is all your fault! I hope you all rot!” He turned and stormed off for the trailer where he kept his stuff. Ten minutes later, from the safety of the house, they watched their son take a bag of clothes and throw it into the sleeper of his big-rig tractor. Their father watched, feeling nothing but sadness as his son pulled out of the driveway, for what he thought was the last time.

~*~*~*~*~

Twelve years before Year one

Hope sat in the kitchen. She had been spending the night, crying. The kid she had seen in Reno a week earlier still bugged her. Alone, on the street, battered to death. No one had cared. Some people had even laughed about it. She only got there to find the aftermath. A poor child, draped in a dress, raped, beaten and killed.

A sweet looking child, no more than seven or eight. Beaten because he liked to dress like a girl. Because he was a girl inside. Emotions roared through her veins. A mix of sadness and rage. She wanted justice for the child, but the killer was already caught and using religion as an excuse.

She had just finished college and was getting ready to go out into Plumas county to start her teaching career. She planned to stay where she was, when she finished school. She knew the big cities had more options for work. She loved the mountains though. And even though people there hated her for what she was, she could not stand to leave the place she had called home for over twenty years. She loved them very much.

Once again Fate played it's hand. Unseen to the family.

On the counter, a small TV was playing the number pull from the State’s lottery. Normally Hope wouldn’t have cared. But this time it was over three hundred million dollars. She could afford to give up one dollar for a chance at that.

“And Seven.”

Hope gasped, then she looked down at her hand. The ticket she held couldn’t be read, due to the shaking of her hands.

She wanted to scream out in joy. In the joy that her life could get a lot better, but emotion caught the sound and held it in her throat.

~*~*~*~*~

Six months had passed since she had her windfall, but it was the death of that small, frail child in Reno that kept shaping her thoughts. Work was hard, with people coming out of the woodwork for handouts. People who would have spit on her weeks before the lottery had happened. Now she had many people trying for the best friend spot.

To keep from being hounded, she put the money into all sorts of accounts and investments. Just to keep people from expecting a handout. But no matter how much she did, or gave to charities, that image of the beaten child in the dress could not leave her mind. In the back of her mind, Ideas had been forming. Brewing about like a raging storm, fit to shape a new world.

~*~*~*~*~

Eleven years before Year One

Hope had explained her plans and dream to her parents several times. And once again, her father didn't seem to catch on to it. She had already purchased the property next to her parents ranch, netting them another five hundred acres of farm land and her a two story, five bedroom home. But she had her eye on other properties too. One that lay just behind her parents and her properties. Something big, with standing buildings.

"You're doing what?" Her father asked.

"Foster care. Taking in kids that are special, like me."

"Is this about that kid?" Her father asked her, knowing full well it was."You can't beat yourself up over one child."

"Dad, trust me. I have money right now and I want to give to the world, not just take. I want to be someone that people can lean on when times are hard. I want to help out as many kids as I can. I want this place to be a beacon of hope to children who have none." Hope looked up at both her parents. "I'm doing this. I'd feel better if I had you two at my back."

Her father sighed. "I'm not sure about this, but I'll help."

Her mother nodded. "I'll help too. But we're not putting the farm up for mortgage if things get hard. That's my rule here."

"I understand, Mom. This will be sink or swim for me. I totally Understand."

With her connection in Sacramento. And in other parts of the state, the groundwork was laid down. She had given her pitch to the man in Sacramento. She knew it was a long shot. Her fingers were crossed, but to goose things along, she put out internet spaces to promote a safe haven for trans children.

She had to do it for the child she had seen. To prevent murders like that from happening again.

~*~*~*~*~

Nine Years before Year One

“Alright. Just sign here and this property is all yours.” The man said. The property in question was the land next to the property that she had bought during a bank sale. It was on a small road that led between her farmhouse and her parents place. It rested on their back boarders. This however was no farm house. This was different. This was An old prison camp. It was a short lived Youth detainee camp, set in the Northern part of the state, far from the hustle and Bustle of city life.It had failed when the state people messed around with money and decided that this was a waste of time. It had sat empty for nearly twenty years when she bought it. Her farmhouse was good. But as the time progressed, she got more and more children. So this was forcing her to get a bigger place. And this place fit the bill.

It also came with the full land rights to another thousand acres, though only three hundred acres of that was actually farm land. The rest was on mountainsides. Now the three of them boasted several streams and wooded areas to their names. Of course to get it set up for her needs, they would have to work at it over time. Changing the cells to something without bars. Altering the rooms and making sure it didn't seem like a prison.

She had even gone the extra length to get her place listed as a private school. Sure they only had about ten kids there, but now they didn't have to send the kids to Portola, where they got bullied each day. Each day she wondered if it was worth it. But that child’s image kept her up at night. Almost taunting her as to how she could make a difference.



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